LeBron James Comments on David Blatt's Firing, Tyronn Lue and More

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2016

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James gestures to the Cleveland bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 99-95. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Darren Abate/Associated Press

After a whirlwind Friday that saw the Cleveland Cavaliers fire head coach David Blatt and promote assistant Tyronn Lue to replace him, LeBron James addressed the media Saturday.

On the heels of the Cavs announcing Blatt's dismissal, questions regarding James' involvement immediately came to the forefront.

According to ESPN.com, however, James insists he was as surprised as anyone when the move was made: "I found out about it just like every other player on this team at 3:30 [p.m. ET] yesterday. ... I think [general manager David Griffin] was right on everything he said. ... Like it or love it or hate it, we got to respect it."

According to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, Griffin said he was the one pulling the strings, and not LeBron:

So, I've got a problem in general with this narrative, and those of you that have been with us for a while understand this. LeBron plays for this team. And he's the leader of this team. And he desperately wants to bring a championship to this team. LeBron doesn't run this organization. LeBron is about this organization, and he is of this organization, and he's of our community. But this narrative that somehow we're taking direction from him, it's just not fair. It's not fair to him in particular. But frankly, it's kind of not fair to me and our group anymore.

James also blew off the notion that some outsiders believe he pushed Blatt out the door and made it clear that his focus is on helping the Cavs win a championship: "For me, I can't get caught up and worried about what other people are thinking," James said. "I stopped doing that a long time ago in my career. ... The only thing I can worry about is how I can get these guys better prepared and we can play better basketball."

The onus is now on LeBron and Co. to mesh better with Lue at the helm than they did with Blatt when he was the man in charge.

According to McMenamin, Lue is confident that he can have success in areas Blatt didn't:

Dave McMenamin @mcten

Tyronn Lue on what he'll do differently than Blatt: "I wouldn't say 'differently,' I would say 'better.'"

While James never said as much, it's possible that it was difficult for him to take direction from Blatt since he never played in the NBA.

That is no longer an issue with Lue, and LeBron had no problem admitting he'll take direction from Lue, and not the other way around.

"We've been friends since I was 17 years old," James said. "But it ended today. ... He's still the coach and I'm underneath him."

King James is enjoying another banner year with averages of 25 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game, and Cleveland remains the odds-on favorite to win the Eastern Conference.

Even so, the Cavs were recently blown out by the defending-champion Warriors and haven't fared well against the Western Conference's elite, which is why a coaching change may have been a necessary move.

Lue is respected, and he should have no issue relating to his players, including big personalities like James.

Sometimes all it takes is one tweak to take a team to the next level, and although Lue's ascent doesn't guarantee a title, LeBron seems more than willing to give him a chance.   


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